Between March 1 and March 15, 19 non-caucus states will hold their presidential nominating contests. Of those, voting has already started in 11 of them.
We don’t know which candidates have an advantage in early voting. But based on the bits and pieces of information that states and counties have released, we can get an idea about turnout: Which party’s voters are fired up and ready to go, and which haven’t tuned in?
Here’s what we know in several of the key upcoming states:
Texas (Mar 1): In the state’s ten largest counties, 176,184 people voted in the Republican primary during the first six days of early voting. That’s way up compared to the last two presidential election cycles. On the Democratic side, 160,798 people voted during the same period. That’s way down from the 319,747 who voted during this period in 2008, when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were locked in a fierce battle. One Texas political expert has characterized the overall turnout as decent but not “off the charts.” The state’s native son, Sen. Ted Cruz, is fighting to hold off Donald Trump in the GOP race here.
Tennessee (Mar 1): Early voting has been open since February 10, and turnout appears to be high, especially on the GOP side. In the Republican primary, 257,209 votes have been cast, while 128,374 people have voted in the Democratic primary. In many counties, that number appears to be higher than in 2008 — the last time both parties had open nomination fights.
Georgia (Mar 1): In the first two weeks of early voting, more than 63,503 Georgians cast a ballot. Of those, 40,218 were cast in the GOP race, and 23,187 in the Democratic one. In the state’s largest Democratic county, Fulton, which contains Atlanta, only 5,821 people had voted. The county director said he had been expecting 10,000. Hillary Clinton has a get out the vote event scheduled for Atlanta on Friday.
Ohio (Mar 15): Voting has been open since February 17, and in the first three days, 10,104 ballots were cast. The state received 151,697 requests for applications for absentee ballots, which are required in Ohio for those wanting to vote early whether by mail or in person. The numbers aren’t broken down by party, but the state’s GOP chair has predicted that one-third of Republicans will vote early. Candidates who have dropped out of the race since February 4 — Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum — will still be on the ballot but their votes won’t be counted. The candidate who wins Ohio gets all 66 of its delegates. The state’s governor, John Kasich, needs to win it if his campaign is to have life.
Illinois (Mar 15): Voting has been underway since early February, and turnout is said to be “mixed” around the state. Hillary Clinton held a get out the vote rally in Chicago last week.